Mizzou defense looks to pick off high-powered Hoosiers
September 20, 2013 6:56PM
Updated: December 6, 2013 6:50PM
BLOOMINGTON — Missouri’s defense hasn’t tallied a lot of sacks this season, with three in two games.
But the Tigers have already almost matched last year’s interception total for the season. Missouri has six interceptions after picking off opponents seven times last year.
It’s a factor in Missouri’s 2-0 start, and the Tigers will be looking to force some more turnovers in Saturday’s game at Indiana (2-1).
“We would like to have more sacks,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. “I think people have been pretty good about getting rid of the football.”
IU’s quarterbacks have thrown three interceptions in three games, none in their last 62 attempts. And Pinkel knows his defense will be tested by IU’s style of play.
“They play fast. They certainly get their reps in, and they are very, very potent,” he said.
Pinkel is impressed with Nate Sudfeld, the sophomore who leads the Big Ten in touchdown passes (10), passing efficiency (195.3) and passing yards (917) despite sharing time with Tre Roberson and Cam Coffman.
“The way he has been playing, I suggest that he might play more or the whole game, but we’ve got to be ready for all three of them,” Pinkel said.
IU coach Kevin Wilson will likely stick with rotating quarterbacks.
“Few things that we need to clean up that we’ve talked about, but he had a very solid game (vs. Bowling Green),” Wilson said. “He had some players make some good plays for him.”
Key player: Nate Sudfeld. IU’s coaching staff has been reluctant to anoint the sophomore as the No. 1 quarterback. Another big game for Sudfeld, especially if it leads to a win, will go a long way.
Indiana will win if: The Hoosiers take care of the ball. IU is minus-2 in turnover margin this season; the Hoosiers will have a hard time winning today if that ratio is repeated.
Missouri will win if: The Tigers jump out to an early lead. IU is going to get its points, but if Missouri can get the Hoosiers off to a slow start, they can pull off the victory.
Prediction: Indiana 45, Missouri 42
Correspondent Andy Proffet